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Boasting classic Italian ingredients like pasta shells, ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, these ricotta beef stuffed shells offer a hearty taste of Italy. Jumbo pasta shells aren’t hard to find and the recipe is straightforward to make. This is a stuffed shells recipe with meat you’ll want to make more than once. Everything from the melty cheese to the hearty meat sauce and al dente pasta shells makes this mouthwatering dish really impressive!

Ricotta beef stuffed shells in a white baking dish.

This is a stellar recipe for stuffed shells. There aren’t that many ingredients in it and it doesn’t take long to make. As for the flavor, let’s just say “buon appetito” because I just know you’ll love it!

For more comforting pasta dishes, try baked cream cheese spaghetti, Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup or Italian Penne Rosa Pasta. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, Maple Roasted Rainbow Carrots make for a delicious side dish.

Baked stuffed shells with parmesan cheese on a plate.

Why You’ll Love Them

Easy:  This simple recipe for meat stuffed shells is so simple to make. Even if you rarely cook, you shouldn’t have any issues with such a straightforward recipe.
Delicious: Anyone who loves pasta with meat sauce is going to enjoy this comfort food style meal. Along with the pasta, meat and cheese, you just need a few basic seasonings and it really is delicious.
Authentic: Sometimes it can be fun to make fusion dishes and you can use pasta in all kinds of recipes. This recipe features no less than four cheeses favored by Italian chefs, along with other authentic Italian ingredients.

A wooden spoon is being used to take a piece of lasagna out of a casserole dish filled with baked stuffed shells.

Ingredients for Stuffed Meat Shells

You need jumbo pasta shells, ground beef, Italian seasoning, garlic powder onion powder, and an egg. There are also four kinds of cheese that go into these stuffed shells: ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella, and provolone.

Baked stuffed pasta shells on a wooden table.

How to Make Stuffed Shells with Meat

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Cook the pasta:  Follow the package instructions to cook the pasta shells al dente.
Cook the beef: Cook the beef and drain off the grease.
Make the filling: Mix the ricotta with some of the provolone and mozzarella cheese blend, the garlic and onion powder, then add the beef and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Prepare the baking dish: Grease a 13×9-inch pan and spread some marinara sauce over the bottom.
Fill the pasta shells: Spoon some of the ground beef and cheese mixture into a pasta shell and place in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the filling and the rest of the pasta shells.
Bake the stuffed pasta shells: Pour the rest of the sauce over the stuffed shells with meat and then the remaining cheese, then bake for half an hour. Serve hot with extra parmesan and maybe some fresh basil or parsley if you like.

Baked stuffed shells with meat and cheese on a plate.

Substitutions and Variations

Although this stuffed shells recipe is perfect as it is, you might like to tweak and personalize it. You can use any kind of Italian sausage or ground beef, or even use another meat (or meat alternative) altogether. A handful of spinach would be good in the pasta shell filling.

Baked stuffed shells in tomato sauce on a plate with a fork.

Feel free to swap the marinara sauce for another kind (maybe mushroom cream sauce or alfredo) or use different kinds of cheese if you like. An Italian cheese blend would work. Some home cooks like to add cottage cheese.

Stuffed risotto with parmesan cheese on a plate.

How to Serve Stuffed Pasta Shells

Enjoy these jumbo pasta shells with ricotta cheese and ground beef hot, perhaps paired with a green goddess salad or smoked asparagus.

Two plates of stuffed pasta shells with sauce and parmesan cheese on a table.

How to Store Meat Stuffed Shells

Store:  Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Freeze: Freeze stuffed shells for up to 3 months if you like, although the texture will change a bit upon thawing – they will be softer than when freshly cooked.

A dish of stuffed pasta shells with beef, sauce, and cheese on a table.

Stuffed Shells FAQs

Can you make this with another type of pasta?

Although this ricotta beef stuffed shells recipe is great with jumbo pasta shells, you might be thinking about using another kind of pasta, especially if you have plenty of dried pasta and you’d rather use some of that than buy another kind. You can actually use any kind of pasta for this. If you’re using pasta shapes just mix them with the beef, marinara and cheese mixture rather than stuffing anything.

Can you use a different kind of meat?

You can use anything from ground beef to pork or even ground turkey for your pasta shells filling. If you’re making a vegetarian dish, then sub mushrooms or your favorite veggies for the ground meat.

A wooden spoon is being used to pick up a dish of stuffed pasta shells.

Ricotta Beef Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

5 from 42 votes

Ricotta Beef Stuffed Pasta Shells

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Baked ricotta beef stuffed pasta shells are full of ground beef and four different types of cheese. It is a meal the whole family will love!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 Box jumbo pasta shells, cooked to al dente per instructions
  • 15 Ounces ricotta cheese
  • 24 Ounces marinara sauce, homemade or jar
  • 1 Pound ground beef, browned
  • 4 Ounces provolone , shredded
  • 4 Ounces mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley , fresh, optional for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cook shells according to directions for al dente firmness. This will help the shells to hold their shape and not tear while stuffing. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  • In a medium pan, cook the ground beef and drain the extra grease. Set aside.
  • Combine together the mozzarella and provolone cheese or use a pre-packaged shredded cheese mix.
  • In a medium bowl, add the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of provolone/mozzarella cheese mix, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, egg, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add the cooled ground beef to the ricotta mixture and combine.
  • Spray the 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  • Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  • Take a cooked shell and, using a large spoon, approximately ⅛ cup (you can use your best judgment on how much exactly) of the beef/Ricotta mixture to the inside of the shell.
  • Lay the stuffed shell in the pan and repeat the process, laying each one next to each other until all shells are filled.
  • Take the remaining sauce and pour it around the shells.
  • Use the remaining shredded cheese to cover the shells.
  • Cover the dish with foil and place in the center of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and starting to brown.
  • Serve with extra Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 618mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 939IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 445mg | Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

You’re going to love this stuffed shells with meat recipe. The simple filling blends ground beef, four types of cheese, marinara sauce, and some basic seasonings to make the most delicious comfort food lunch or dinner ever. This is a winning stuffed shells recipe for sure!

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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